It’s fair to say that no-one likes the feeling of being strapped for cash.
Having to turn down an evening out with friends or not being able to see the latest film at the cinema because ‘money’s tight’ is something we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives. But for many, this experience is becoming something of a depressing norm.
This isn’t helped by wages that have struggled to keep up with inflation. Whilst those on the lowest wages have seen an improvement in the minimum wage, the fact that bills have gone up too wipes out any kind benefit people could be enjoying.
WORKING TO LIVE?
Whilst the cost of living is an inescapable aspect of life, it shouldn’t be a dominating factor in people’s lives. But when someone’s wages are only enough for them to ‘get by’ month-to-month, it’s only natural for them to want to either ask for a pay rise or leave for another role which pays more.
This puts employers in a somewhat unenviable position.
On the one hand, dishing out pay rises to all and sundry – which would no doubt would be popular - simply isn’t sustainable or good business sense.
On the other hand, keeping employees more financially secure so they can enjoy themselves helps retain the best talent and attract the best employees the workforce has to offer. There obviously needs to be a balance.
Luckily, there are a few simple things employers can do that’ll help their employees move on from ‘just getting by’ to feeling more financially secure and in control of their money – all without necessarily just hitting the ‘more money’ button:
1. REMOVE THE STIGMA OF DEBT
Consider offering a confidential safe space in which employees can discuss any financial problems they may be experiencing and help them with access to good, free and impartial financial advice as part of a wider employee wellbeing strategy.
There are plenty of professional financial bodies out there that can do this – your employees might just need pointing in the right direction.
2. HELP WITH MONEY MANAGEMENT RESOURCES
Offering budgeting tools that link to employees’ accounts can help them identify where they may be spending too much or how they can use their money more effectively. This is incredibly easy to do as there are a wealth of reputable and free online budgeting tools available - but your staff may just need a helpful push in the right direction to find them!
By doing this, you’re empowering your workforce to take more control over their finances and make better financial decisions both for the long and short term.
3. DON’T ADD TO THEIR FINANCIAL PRESSURES
Smaller, independent businesses are more likely to experience cashflow problems than their multi-national compatriots and perhaps not have such a robust approach to payroll than large corporations. However, you should always ensure wages are consistently paid on time, every time.
Also, aim to reimburse staff expenses as quickly as possible so workers don’t incur credit card or overdraft interest charges. The last thing an employer should do is cause their employee’s financial hardship.
4. CONSIDER FLEXIBLE WORKING
Giving employees the option to work from home can help them save a great deal of money each month and help them do more with their wages, too. Flexible working may be seen as a benefit, but many businesses are waking up to fact that for many employees, it's a pivotal part of a healthy company culture.
If it's not possible to offer flexible working, condensed hours over just four days a week (so, working four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days) might also be an effective way to help your employees keep their finances in check.
Removing the expense of commuting for one day a week can lead to a big monthly saving, meaning staff can feel the benefits of having more disposable income without needing to resort to a pay rise.
5. HELP THEM TO SAVE FOR THE FUTURE
Employers can help their staff put a little money aside each month with dedicated savings accounts linked to their wages. This means employees don’t have to worry about putting money aside for a rainy day as it can be done for them automatically each month.
This is obviously a big step for any business; but one that can reap rewards when it comes to staff financial wellbeing.
6. OFFER HELP WITH DAY-TO-DAY EXPENSES
Lastly, if working from home or condensed hours aren’t an option, perhaps look at ways you could assist with commuting expenses; with benefits packages that can help with the cost of parking, public transport, cycling to work or even new cars.
This is not only a great way to help employees stretch their annual salaries further each month, but also shows you care about their wellbeing.